Debbie Guckenberger is leaving Greenwood Community High School at the end of this school year to take over as new girls basketball coach at Brownsburg High School.
The 42-year-old Rushville native accepted the job April 28, but the hiring must be approved at Brownsburg’s next school board meeting May 11.
These are bittersweet times for Guckenberger, a Franklin College graduate who came to Greenwood at the start of the 1997-98 school year and embraced various coaching responsibilities.
Guckenberger led the Woodmen girls basketball program for 12 seasons, for a win-loss record of 127-133. She’s also served as either head coach or assistant coach for girls/boys cross-country, as well as girls/boys track and field.
“I just enjoy it so much, working with the kids and building those relationships,” said Guckenberger, who served two seasons as an assistant for former Greenwood girls basketball coach Jerry Beasley before becoming head coach in 2003. “I told my girls, basketball kids and the cross-country kids, on Wednesday.
“My basketball girls were kind of in shock, and my boys cross-country kids probably took it the hardest.”
Greenwood athletics director Pete Huse said the school will act quickly in hiring a successor.
“We have started the search and we already have six applicants. You want to be thorough, but we’ve got to really get moving,” said Huse, noting his preference is to take applications for two weeks.
Guckenburger attempts to fill big shoes in Hendricks County.
Her predecessor, Amy Brauman, is a Brownsburg graduate and member of the 1991 Indiana All-Star team who the past eight seasons led the Bulldogs to a 120-64 record.
Married and the mother of four young children, Brauman, citing the desire to spend more time with her family, in March elected to relinquish her coaching duties.
The vacancy is one Guckenberger didn’t pursue.
“I didn’t apply. Their athletic director (Kelli Waggoner) called me,” she said. “But Brownsburg is a big school with 2,600 kids. It just seems the staff there is unbelievable, and the facilities are outstanding. It’s just a good fit.”
The Brownsburg athletics director since May 2013, Waggoner, herself a former Bulldogs girls basketball player (Class of 1980), first became aware of Guckenberger when Greenwood played there Dec. 30.
Brauman’s Bulldogs pulled out a hard-fought 59-53 victory.
“We played Greenwood for the first time this season, and just the toughness Debbie’s team portrayed during the game. The qualities of her team,” Waggoner remembers. “That, and I think we would be fortunate to have the kind of person Debbie is.
“First and foremost, she’s a wife and a mom who coaches three sports (at Greenwood). It takes commitment, and she’s done it well being a great role model for young women.”
Guckenberger, who taught biology during her 18-year tenure at Greenwood, will teach physical education at Brownsburg High School.
Her lone coaching responsibility will be to lead the Bulldogs’ girls basketball program.
It’s a role Huse said he believes Guckenberger will thrive in.
“We’re not just losing a basketball coach,” Huse said. “Debbie really is a cornerstone and a model of dedication in how she pulled it off.”
THE GUCKENBERGER FILE
Name: Debbie Guckenberger
Family: Husband, Kirk; daughters, Kiera, 11, and Ava, 9
High school: Rushville (1991)
College: Franklin College (1995)
Best seasons at Greenwood: 20-3* (2011-12), 18-5 (2012-13), 13-9 (2007-08), 12-10 (2009-10)